Southampton starlet Ward-Prowse aiming to emulate Beckham

The England Under-21s midfielder has closely studied the former England captain's technique when taking free kicks and tests himself alongside Rickie Lambert to improve
Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse says that he is pushing himself to emulate his "role model", former England captain David Beckham.

The 19-year-old, whose crossing provided a fine assist for Jay Rodriguez in a 1-1 draw at Stoke City earlier this season, is behind talisman Rickie Lambert in the pecking order to take free kicks at St Mary's Stadium but is working to improve.

"I have studied videos of Beckham and I have watched all his free kicks," Ward-Prowse told the press. "He is someone I do look to compare myself to in terms of set-piece deliveries.

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"It's something I've tried to copy but his technique's unique as well. When I hit the ball I jump and skip to try and get it up and over as quickly as possible, whereas Beckham's is quite laid-back and keeps his feet on the floor.

"I stay after training two to three times a week with Rickie Lambert. We have a bit of a competition.

"If you want to be the best and get that one chance in a game to put the ball in the net, you have to put in the extra hours and extra work. You have to emulate what Beckham did when he was younger, practising those free kicks, to be at that level.

"He was a big role model for me, not only on the pitch but off the pitch with the way he applies himself."

If results go their way, Mauricio Pochettino's side could go top of the Premier League with a win over Arsenal and the England Under-21s starlet is keen to focus on the task at hand despite the delirium of their early-season form.

"Everyone is enjoying playing for Southampton," he enthused. "Everyone is on a buzz from the start we have had but we have to concentrate on the now and not think about the future.

"We have to make sure we go out and train well and play well on Saturday. In the back of your mind you are thinking: 'If you win you go top.'"